Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Apparel, Events and Hospitality Management


Hospitality Management

First Advisor

SoJung Lee


Club members are the lifeblood of the private club business, and yet member research is lacking in literature because of the private nature of the business and lack of recognition of studying members’ behaviors in clubs. The research investigated the relationship between motivation of joining factors of members in clubs, perceived value, satisfaction, place attachment of members to the club, and member loyalty. The study hypothesized that motivation of joining factors positively influences members' perceived value in a club. The perceived value of the club as described by members positively influences satisfaction. Satisfaction in the club positively influences place attachment of members to the club. Finally, members' place attachment positively influences member loyalty. The study produces a model that predicts 64% of member loyalty.

It is critical for clubs to be sustainable by recruiting and retaining club members. By identifying the relationships among members' motivation of joining factors, perceived value, satisfaction, place attachment, and member loyalty to the club, the study will help the club business to understand members and predict their loyalty. A typical club replaces 5-10% of its members each year, and thus recruiting new members is important for clubs to be sustainable. The study identified a second order construct for motivation and satisfaction, while perceived value, place attachment, and loyalty used existing constructs modified for the club business.

The sample for the research was members who belong to CMAA managed clubs in the United States. Through a collaboration with club research companies, a web-based survey using Qualtrics was conducted. Data collection occurred over a two week period in September of 2015. This study included over 900 valid responses from nine clubs in diverse, geographic regions of the United States. PLS-Structural equation modeling was conducted to examine the hypothesized relationships. The measurement model represented a good model fit into the data with adequate reliability and validity. The structural model indicated the relationships among motivation of joining factors, perceived value, satisfaction, place attachment, and loyalty were statistically significant. Motivation of joining factors had a significant direct effect on perceived value. Perceived value had a significant direct effect of satisfaction. Satisfaction had a significant direct effect on place attachment. Place attachment was found to have a significant direct effect on loyalty. The model predicted 64% of the variance for member loyalty.

The study provided information on one of the most important aspects of clubs, member behavior. The study represents new current members' perspective, reflecting the recent trends in the club industry. Additionally, the survey helps to fill the literature gap that exists in the club industry and focuses on responses by members. The study is among the first research to investigate member's motivation, developing a scale that expands the application of push and pull theory. Further, the study developed a satisfaction scale based on theory based research in addition to industry research. The study examined place attachment through four dimensions of place identity, place dependence, place affect, and social bonding, highlighting the significance in regards to loyalty. Finally, and more importantly, this study successfully presented a holistic model to predict loyalty, through PLS-SEM modeling. The study utilized all second-order constructs, examining the dimensions of each construct as applied to the club business.


Copyright Owner

James Edward Butler



File Format


File Size

142 pages